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Turkey’s first floating solar power plant installed on irrigation reservoir

State-owned General Directorate of State Hydraulic Works (DSI) put a 1 MW floating photovoltaic plant into trial operation in Elazığ province in Eastern Anatolia. The facility, first of its kind in Turkey, will power irrigation from the Keban reservoir, on which it operates.

Minister of Agriculture and Forestry İbrahim Yumaklı said seven villages would benefit from the Kuzova floating solar power plant. It will contribute to the irrigation system for 4,783 hectares of agricultural land, he explained. The facility consists of 1,840 solar panels, spanning 0.6 hectares on the Keban dam reservoir in Elazığ province in Eastern Anatolia.

According to the minister, it is Turkey’s first floating photovoltaic plant. Small-scale solar energy systems have been installed on water reservoirs several times in the country, but the efforts were unsuccessful, he said.

Floating solar power project in Elazığ of 1 MW cost EUR 2.2 million

State-owned General Directorate of State Hydraulic Works (DSI) installed the new system, which entered test production. It cost EUR 2.2 million, it said. Annual output is estimated at 1.8 GWh.

The floating solar power plant is integrated with a 2 MW unit on land, made of 5,028 panels on 1.5 hectares, Yumaklı asserted. It will generate 4.2 GWh per year, he added.

The Kuzova facility is integrated with a 2 MW solar power unit on land

Together, the two facilities will provide half of the energy needed for the Kuzova irrigation systems and lower the cost for farmers by 40%, the minister pointed out. The capacity will be doubled, Yumaklı claimed.

When irrigated areas are at a higher altitude than the reservoir, like in this case, pumping systems increase expenses by 40%, he stressed. Also, given the impact of climate change, future irrigation systems in Turkey will be closed and use gravity irrigation wherever possible, according to Yumaklı.

Otherwise, floating solar power technology can be deployed, he said. In addition, it is 10% more efficient than the systems mounted on land and reduces the need for space on land, the minister added.

Vast electricity, water-saving potential

Scientists monitored water quality and aquatic life before and after installation in Keban, Yumaklı said.

Excluding the ones for drinking water, Turkey hosts 944 dams, with a total reservoir surface of 5,300 square kilometers, he asserted. Covering 10% with solar panels would add 53 GW of electricity generation capacity and bring 79.5 TWh per year, which is a fourth of domestic demand, the minister pointed out. Moreover, it would save 540 million cubic meters of water per year from evaporating, he opined.

Turkey is about to introduce legislation regulating floating solar power systems. The subsector is gaining momentum in Europe while in the Balkans there are only a few small facilities so far.

On the other hand, projects for floating photovoltaics, popularly called floatovoltaics, are piling up throughout the region. Some could even be measured in hundreds of megawatts and more.